Franklin half dollars are a collector favorite in part because the series encompasses only a few dozen regular-issue coins struck during the relatively short period of 1948 through 1963. Additionally, the series is a nostalgic throwback for many, bearing the beloved Benjamin Franklin — a true renaissance man who reigns as one of the most famous of the Founding Fathers besides George Washington and Alexander Hamilton (the latter serving as the main subject of a recent blockbuster Broadway production).
Franklin halves are mainly collected by date and mintmark, a rather easy objective for many collectors as there are no true key dates in the series. However, there are plenty of conditional rarities, and the basis for collecting Franklin half dollars by grade often falls on the criterion of strike. Most Franklin half dollars exhibit strike weakness in the area of the horizontal bands seen upon the Liberty Bell on the reverse of the coin. Thus, Franklin half dollars with Full Bell Lines (FBL) are prized due to the completeness of their design and inherent scarceness of such pieces.
When it comes to FBL Franklin half dollars, some issues are rarer than others. And one of the rarest FBL Franklin halves is the 1953-S. PCGS has graded many 1953-S BFL Franklin half dollars over the years, and one of the nicest ones is this specimen graded by Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) MS65FBL. Selling in a Stack’s Bowers Galleries sale in March 2020 for $13,200, it features outstanding strike and resplendent surfaces with frosty luster and iridescent gold hues. Only 23 have been graded by PCGS at this level and there are just five other higher specimens.
*Images courtesy of Professional Coin Grading Service.